Mennonite Heritage Village

A Hot Tip for Winter

February 8, 2024

By Gary Dyck

The General Store at Mennonite Heritage Village is now fully winterized! It has wall-to-wall and ceiling insulation, beautifully stained wood walls and a cold climate heat pump. The pump keeps the building warm in winter and cool in the summer. Last summer, the local artisans that staff the General Store were thankful that they never had to ‘sweat-it-out’. Along with the brisk sales of their wares, this is probably why so many plan to return this year.

It seems cold climate heat pumps are the best way for most of us to now heat our houses efficiently. I had one installed in my home in 2022 and in 2023 saved $600 in natural gas! My pump doesn’t work when it is colder than −25°C, so then the gas furnace kicks in to help. However, with winters like this one supplementary heat is rarely needed. Previous pumps could only work until -10°C, but now with major developments in technology some are effective to -30°C.

As a Mennonite I love saving money on my heating bill. The heat pump looks like a large air conditioner unit beside my house and its gentle hum is music to my ears. It is a fascinating piece of technology. In winter, the heat pump somehow extracts heat from the outside air and transfers it into the building to provide warmth. In the summer, the process is reversed, and the pump extracts heat from the home’s interior and expels it outdoors to cool the indoor environment.

Now here is the hot tip. With the Canada Greener Homes $5000 rebate and a rebate from Efficiency Manitoba for the cold climate heat pump, I was easily able to afford the pump and finally have air conditioning in my house. Cold climate heat pumps meet both heating and cooling needs, offering year-round comfort with a single system. This versatility eliminates the need for separate cooling and heating systems.

Photo credit: Hamid Payombarnia ©2016

Recently, I was alerted that the Greener Homes Grant will stop accepting new applications this March. So, if you need a new air conditioner or furnace, and like to save money, I encourage you to check it out today. Let me know if you want to check out MHV’s General Store when you visit us during Winter in the Village or during our upcoming Winter Carnival. Be sure to check out its cooling ability during the summer as well. During the hot days of Pioneer Days last summer, the store volunteers told me to stop announcing that the General Store was a cool place to visit as they were getting too many visitors. I am so thankful for the innovators that make our lives better. Gone are the ‘good old days’ of my father having to get up in the night to add a manure brick to the hearth of his family’s housebarn.

Upcoming Events:

Winter in the Village, January & FebruaryFriday and Saturdays, Celebrate the Christmas season with a village full of festive lighting and displays (4-8pm), a bonfire, snowshoe trail with snowshoe and kicksled rentals, live musicians from 6-7:30pm, hot chocolate and apple cider. Saturdays include sleigh rides from 2:30–6:00pm, kids crafts 2-4pm. This Saturday at 2:30pm there will be an interpretive snowshoe tour.

Authors Night & Mennonite Village Photography Exhibit Opening Feb 15 @ 7pm. Enjoy an evening of local authors while perusing the new Mennonite Village Photography exhibit. Hear from the Mennonite Historic Arts Committee about the process of curating this amazing collection of work by local pioneering photographers and creating the accompanying photobook.

Winter Carnival 2024, Fri. & Sat., Feb 16 – Feb 17. Join us Louis Riel weekend for two packed days of entertainment, special events and indoor and outdoor activities. All of your favorite Winter in the Village activities will be running, such as sleigh rides, snowshoeing, skating, kick-sledding and the light display, with opportunity to try a hand at snow sculpting. There will also be indoor activities for the family to warm up into and our new “Mennonite Village Photography” exhibit to peruse.

“Keeping Time: The Art and Heritage of Mennonite Clocks” exhibit is being presented at the Manitoba Museum. Visit the exhibit from Oct. 27-Feb. 25. This is an exhibition developed by Kroeger Clocks Heritage Foundation in partnership with Mennonite Heritage Village.